European Tech: Remote Work


Europe continues to be a hotbed of trends revolving around remote work. Turns out, there are a lot of different directions this rollercoaster can go. It's not just about, "Will we or won't we go hybrid?"


That's why we invited Berlin-based HeyJobs founder and CEO Marius Luther on, along with Lieven, to sort it all out. From a shortcoming at Google for Jobs to capturing talent in other Euros to employees taking advantage of companies who allow a WFH option, this episode has it all.


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C&C Podcast Does Europe INTRO (5s):

Some podcasts, do it for the fun. Some do it for the fame, Chad and Cheese they do it for global effin domination. That's why bringing America to its knees was just the beginning. Now they have their eyes set on conquering Europe and they've drafted industry veteran Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze of Belgium to help them navigate the old country and bring HR's most dangerous podcast across the pond to trash-talk like never before. Not safe for work in any language. The Chad and Cheese podcast does Europe.


Joel (38s):

Oh yeah, Chad is heading to Europe soon, now that's a border wall worth building. What's up guys? You're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast does Europe. I'm your cohost Joel "cause chaos and rock like Amadeus" Cheeseman.


Chad (53s):

And I'm Chad "it feels like Europe in this place. My fucking AC's down" Sowash.


Lieven (58s):

And I'm still just Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze.


Joel (1m 0s):

And on this episode, talking some Google for jobs, with a German startup founder, cash money flowing into European companies that support remote work and over employment is now a thing. Blame it all on Ireland, I guess.


SFX (1m 17s):

Europe has a bunch of countries in it.


Chad (1m 19s):

How do you guys do this? I don't have AC today. I feel so pampered. I am hot. I am irritable. This is something that Europeans work with all the time. You guys don't do AC do ya?


Lieven (1m 31s):

We don't need AC.


Joel (1m 33s):

Not yet. Climate change says you will at some point need AC. Trust Me.


Chad (1m 38s):

Oh yeah. We've got to go through our, our.


Joel (1m 40s):

Yeah, our mystery guest. Everyone please welcome Marius Luther. Marius is founder and CEO at HeyJobs, which is based in Berlin. They're doing some great things out there. So let's get a little bit about Marius the person and we'll get to the company as we get into the show. Marius, welcome and tell us a little bit about you.


Marius (2m 2s):

Thanks for having me. Pleasure to be here. I'm Marius, thirty-three in Berlin and building up HeyJobs and been in the tech entrepreneurship scene for the better part of the last 10 years. And after five years doing various other startups and realizing how hard it is to have good staff and build up HeyJobs in 2016. And here we are.


Chad (2m 26s):

So are you Lex Luther's good brother?


Joel (2m 29s):

Does he have hair or not?


Marius (2m 30s):

I'm losing my hair right now that's for sure.


Joel (2m 34s):

So Maurice has already agreed that Belgian beer is better than German beer. So leaving Lieven's good with him being on the show.


Lieven (2m 40s):

I tend to agree with him.


Chad (2m 44s):

Like I'd said, just as long as you're not talking about IPA's because Europe doesn't do a good IPA, even though they invented it. I don't get that shit.


Lieven (2m 51s):

Who's got a shout out? okay. So I've got one for Mauris and Lieven. Okay. So do you guys, do either of you have Apple plus streaming?


Marius (2m 60s):

No.


Lieven (3m 0s):

I do. I think, I think my children tricked me into it, yeah.


Chad (3m 4s):

Okay. So it doesn't seem like either one of you have watched Ted Lasso, which is a comedy on Apple Plus where an American college football coach is hired to run a proper football team in England. I'm looking for European listener feedback on this one because Joel and I love this, but we're a couple of dumb Americans. So we're looking if you've checked out, if you're a European and you've watched Ted Lasso, let us know. Is it a good show from a European perspective because Joel and I are idiot asses over here in the U S? We love it. So Apple Plus Ted Lasso, let us know what you think.


Lieven (3m 40s):

Noted.


Joel (3m 41s):

Love it. Shout out to VR and who doesn't love that everybody? My favorite topic. Alright, got ready for the metaverse for work. Everybody. Facebook Horizon work rooms was introduced last week. Think of it as putting on a headset, being in a meeting that's virtual talking to other emojicons or emojis about a meeting. So if you're tired of the panel-based zoom meeting, get ready for the metaverse for work. Shout out to Metaverse.


Chad (4m 12s):

Yeah, here in the US, I don't know if this is just kind of like a us thing where we think that we can make, you know, the whole VR goggles, no humans thing work, but what about Europe is Europe deep into augmented reality? Virtual reality? What do you guys think? I mean, you're both obviously high up in tech companies, founders and CEO. What do you think about this, this type of tech do you think it's here to stay?


Marius (4m 36s):

I think I saw it four years ago at some trade show and that now again.


Lieven (4m 41s):

It's probably here to stay, but I'm not really into it. There are certain applications where it could be fun and useful, but my children are dedicated gamers and have those VR sets and they never used them because it's just too big of a hassle to put it on.


Joel (4m 59s):

The question for me is, do you prefer the video zoom call as it is now? Or would you prefer almost a virtual experience where you could actually sit at a table virtually and talk to people? And this thing apparently is pretty cool in that the audio is based on where someone is sitting in a virtual room and all that good stuff to me. That sounds pretty cool. No?


Chad (5m 19s):

No.


Joel (5m 20s):

No? you all prefer the Brady Bunch style panels on a screen.


Chad (5m 25s):

Well, I mean, you've got to wear a helmet the entire time, or at least a headset, right? I mean, how much of a pain in the ass is that going to be? We think zoom is a pain in the ass right now because we're looking at a screen. Can you imagine wearing that fucking concoction on your head all day?


Marius (5m 41s):

Having said that, I think, there will be some pretty amazing solutions be built to do that kind of remote collaboration thing. And I think tech is just scratching the surface of what's possible and still too clumsy. But I agree with you. I would not wear a helmet, but I think there will be a lot of cool stuff coming.


Chad (5m 57s):

What about the Elon Musk chip in the brain where all of it just happens?


Lieven (6m 3s):

Yeah. That's a nice one. Elon Musk he, like chips, two monkeys, and they could play pong against each other. It's great. I mean, that's science, Elon Musk for president, I keep repeating it.


Joel (6m 14s):

President of the world.


Lieven (6m 16s):

Yeah, Elon Musk. I tell you. No really, that's something I like, it's a better than augmented reality. It's just cool.


Joel (6m 24s):

If it comes with a cyber truck, I'm all good.


Chad (6m 26s):

It's called neural links. So if listeners out there, if you haven't checked it out, check out neuro link. It's pretty bad ass. I'm not putting the thing on my head, that's for goddamn. Sure. But it is that giant leap from stupid headsets on your face to that next generation.


Joel (6m 42s):

Can I give a shout out to some young Scots?


Chad (6m 45s):

Oh yeah.


Joel (6m 46s):

Okay. So some new research from the CIPD that's the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that nearly half of all, 18 to 30 year olds in Scotland, that's 48% feel the pandemic has harmed their long-term career prospects. And almost two thirds say the pandemic has made their mental health worse. So drink up Scots life is good.


Chad (7m 7s):

Drink up. I mean, seriously. So Bill Borman and Peter Gold, I'm going to give these guys a shout out. Thanks for all the common good trolling on Facebook. It seems like whenever the US does something stupid, which we've been doing a lot over the last, I don't know, four or five decades, and Europeans always loved to troll us. Not like they're not doing it themselves, i.e. Brexit, that kind of shit. So is it just kind of like a fun and games type of a thing? Or do you think we are really that competitive or Europe is that competitive with the US?


Lieven (7m 43s):

They're just jealous. That's a good one.


Chad (7m 48s):

What do you think Marius? I mean, you're right in the heart of it. What do Germans think? Is this a big competition? Because when you take a look at the funds and we'll talk about VC here in a minute, when you take a, look at the funds happening for tech in our space? In our space the U S blows the hell out of Europe. I mean, period. I think we had like 60 deals last quarter and Europe, I think maybe had 10, at the most. So when there's gotta be that competitive drive, right?


Marius (8m 16s):

And as an entrepreneur, I think you look at Silicon Valley and what's happening in the US and you're like, oh, there was a lot of capital there! Maybe we should go there or raise that capital. So, and I think in general, the admiration for the economic strength of the US I think at the same time, Europe really likes the way that society works here and maybe politics/social systems. And I think there's not a lot of jealousy in that regard with regards to the US so I think everyone is quite proud of all of what we've built up here in terms of social security and so on.


Joel (8m 51s):

I do think there's not enough credit in thinking about who came to America, right? It was the risk, it was a lot of people, but it was the risk takers, the people who wanted a second chance that wanted to start from zero and then of the Americans, the ones who are the craziest were the ones who went west. So when you look at Silicon Valley and where the risk taking happens, where people are open to it and chance, I think that we don't think enough about the DNA of America versus other parts of the world and companies getting started and risk being taken.


Marius (9m 23s):

That's what, I'm a bit scared about that we are not taking enough, nearly enough risk in Germany or in Europe, but on the whole. And that obviously means 10 years from now, 20 years from now, you know, how relevant will we be and how healthy will these economies be? If you look at tech already, the big US companies, basically I read the other day that Amazon was doing the same in sales as the GDP of Spain or something. I mean, that's pretty crazy, right?


Chad (9m 51s):

It is. Well, I mean, Germany is known for being disciplined and not really taking risks, but taking more measured risks. Right. So do you think that has been an issue with regards to not being able to innovate as quickly because we've got the dumb Americans that are over there and they'll fucking try anything!


Marius (10m 8s):

It has to do with appetite for risk. And we also don't have as much capital available. Right. So a lot of pension funds would rather invest in, I dunno, forests instead of tech startups.


Joel (10m 19s):

Yeah. What's the company out of Germany that like copies everybody. It's like two brothers?


Chad (10m 25s):

Windu. Marius actually worked for them, right?


Marius (10m 28s):

Yeah. So they're called the Samwer brothers and their strategy pretty early on was really to copy every successful US company. So they started with a copycat of eBay, back in around 2000 and sold that to eBay. And then they copied Groupon, eHarmony and Airbnb, which I was a part of. I was recruited there, it was my first job. And we kind of built Airbnb in Europe and before Airbnb crushed us, basically, but it was also a function of the amount of capital that was then poured into Airbnb meant no one else really had a chance anymore.


Chad (11m 7s):

You have a great story with Douglas Adkin, who was actually the head of community over at Airbnb. And he was at Airbnb when the brothers were trying to sell. And he was a part of that discussion. And it was one of the podcasts, we actually have done one of the series of podcasts that we've done, and it was an amazing, amazing discussion. So it's good. It's interesting to hear the other side of the table on this one. Thanks for sharing.


Marius (11m 33s):

What I can tell you. I was at this discussion as well, and he's absolutely right in how he described it, basically for context, 12 months earlier, all of us on the executive team saw the thing with same thing with Groupon and Groupon bought as a European Groupon clone for like a billion or so. So he had proved that that it worked and he tried exactly the same with the Airbnb founders, but they just hated him out of the gate for copying everything. And I think there was just too much hate to make a deal, basically.


Chad (12m 4s):

Yeah. That's kind of hard to get through. Hey, Lieven. I hear you've got an event coming up. What's happening on your side over there? Huh?


Lieven (12m 11s):

I said THE event of the year, not just a event, it's the 25th of November. We have our annual E-Recruitment Congress and it's the CRN Austin Belgium have a beautiful view on the seat. And we're having some friends of the show, friends of this show. Dee is coming. She'll be talking about remote work, everything concerning it. We have Aiden Gorden coming and we have


Joel (12m 36s):

Steven Rothberg? Is he coming?


Chad (12m 38s):

Yeah.


Lieven (12m 40s):

Yeah. Yeah, Stephen's coming, but I still need to sign this contract. So just he'll be coming. He'll be coming no worries. And we also have Chad and Cheese who will be hosting a bar?


Chad (12m 53s):

Nothing more sexy than Chad and Cheese at the bar, let me tell you. Dee Coakley, Dee Coakley coming from, she was actually on, I think our second or third show, she was our mystery guest host. So going to be able to meet her face to face. That's awesome.


Lieven (13m 8s):

I look forward to it too. You're going to do a show from the Congress. I hope.


Chad (13m 14s):

Of course.


Joel (13m 15s):

That's the hope. If we can stay sober.


Marius (13m 18s):

You're not supposed to stay sober because we're in Belgium and we're giving you a bar filled with beer.


Joel (13m 23s):

Damn. We might not leave.


Chad (13m 25s):

I probably won't leave. There's no reason at that point. So yeah, no, we're really stoked about it. Everybody who's out there. Get ready. This is more of a teaser than anything else because registration is not open yet. But Lieven when it is, who should be coming to this conference?


Marius (13m 41s):

All the recruiters and everyone interested in recruitment marketing, HR tech, those kinds of things. But mostly I guess recruiters and HR managers. We have 350 places. It's a limited. And normally it's sold out pretty easily. So don't wait, but registration will be open the all of September, I guess. And maybe next show, we can talk about some people, some topics, what we're going to talk about. Awesome. But it will be about recruitment. And I'm going to give you a title. It's digitally have roster. Like you have a fairy tale happily ever after, but now because of COVID it's digitally ever after. We're going to be talking about virtual, about virtual meetings, not augmented reality, but the real stuff like virtual employer branding because people know camera anxiety, and they actually like first interviews to be virtual.


Marius (14m 33s):

So we have to make sure that we enable our own teams to step up their virtual game and give them a good ones, home studio, et cetera, and teach them how to get most out of it. And that will be a big topic.


Chad (14m 45s):

Yeah.


Marius (14m 46s):

We're having Jim Carroll. He's a master on the subject. It's a Canadian guy who's coming over to show what's possible with virtual stages, like virtual meetings and how you'll be able to do virtual employer branding on a top level scale, these kinds of things. But we'll talk about it next time.


Chad (15m 2s):

Excellent. Topics!


Joel (15m 8s):

All right. Well, let's start with our guests here. So German recruiting site, HeyJobs has seen growing demand in recent months with the Berlin based startup, looking to expand its staff base with the company planning to hire 70 employees by the end of the year. Launched in 2016, HeyJobs serves 2,500 customers, all in Germany and a little bit worldwide, employees around 160 people. In 2019, the company closed a $12 million US series A funding round with total funding at 15 million. So Marius, let's start here. We're talking more and more about Google for jobs, making waves in Europe. How has Google impacted your business?


Marius (15m 45s):

For the size and impact that Google could have surprising the limited impact so far. I think they came on the stage. When is it? Two years ago, two and a bit years ago until Europe into Germany. Obviously, you know, we optimized for them. We try to give our clients the best exposure on Google for Jobs. But to be honest, as a percentage of the total kind of applicants that we generate for our customers, it's been pretty nascent, like below 10% or so. And I've hoped always that they improve the product further to work, to more quality, to be honest. And I think that's what they're doing right now with these changes that are coming October 1st, that you mentioned before, as well as in my opinion, monetizing could also be a good thing again for quality, right?


Marius (16m 38s):

So basically separating quality jobs that employers really want candidates for from these kind of ghost jobs that are just created to be on Google for jobs, to draw applicants into some kind of talent pool. So there's a lot of shady stuff going on on Google for jobs as well.


Chad (16m 54s):

A lot of scamming and whatnot. Now, you are, and correct me if I'm wrong. HeyJobs right now is solely in Germany. Now I would assume that and I could, again, could be wrong. The competition in Germany, the country alone is much different than obviously the competition you're going to face when you expand. So why would you say that you're not getting as much traffic out of Google when the competition shouldn't be as big?


Marius (17m 23s):

Yeah, I think small function of what else we do that drives a lot more traffic. So maybe a bit of background. So I think compared to the US the European market, labor market seem to be a lot more dry. So what I mean by that is when you put up a job post in the US what I've seen is you'll get a couple of hundred applicants off, not all good quality. I'm not saying they will all stay for a very long time, when you hire them. So I think there's a more like liquidity turnover and so on. But in Germany, when we entered the market, what customers were telling us, it's like, I put a job ad on like leading job boards, and I get like two candidates, five, zero in for like 30 days spending a thousand euros or something.


Marius (18m 6s):

So what we figured is you need to take a much more active approach in Germany to find candidates. You cannot just list the job. And so we are spending a lot of marketing money actively on channels, like Facebook and Instagram, and so on trying to drive applicant volume. And I guess it's that function that not as many people are actively searching for jobs. That means Google for jobs doesn't have the same traffic that it maybe has in the US?


Joel (18m 35s):

What sources are working really well for you, if not Google for Jobs? Whereas most of the traffic coming from?


Marius (18m 40s):

What we see is most candidates, we call them like passive candidates, so they're not actively looking for jobs but jobs, but they're somewhere on the internet, right? They're watching videos on YouTube or they're browsing the Instagram feed. And so we try to target those people wherever they are, as long as they are a good fit for the job that we are trying to fill for the customer. And so for every individual customer job, we're trying to find the best talent and the best channels are the largest internet platforms. They are Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Google Display Network.


Joel (19m 13s):

Please say TikTok.


Marius (19m 14s):

And other sites, we haven't tried to TikTok yet, but everyone is begging me to try it. I'm not sure how much quality candidates you can generate that, but maybe I'm too old.


Chad (19m 27s):

Joel has been working on his floss dance for about three months now so he can finally start posting to the TikTok.


Joel (19m 35s):

Almost as good as my running man, almost as good as my running man.


Marius (19m 39s):

But have you seen any recruitment success on TikTok in the US? Is it something that companies use a lot?


Chad (19m 43s):

I would say they're just trying to figure it out now. And it's more about recruitment marketing than it is really anything else. So it's more brand focused at this point, as it, as opposed to being able to drive anybody to a specific job per se.


Joel (19m 60s):

And tick tock, tick tock seems to be serious about it,


Marius (20m 3s):

But it's mostly like look we're on TikTok we're cool we're a young company you should feel at home at our company because we're on TikTok, but I haven't seen any nice case yet.


Chad (20m 12s):

Nope, not yet. Not yet. So quick, question with regard to, HeyJobs, it sounds like you're almost like a German version of ZipRecruiter. Are you guys seeing any kind of impact with Indeed, ZipRecruiter, some of the bigger names that are happening here in the US are you seeing that at all?


Joel (20m 32s):

Glassdoor.


Chad (20m 32s):

Yeah. Glassdoor, are you seeing that at all in Germany or is it pretty much just more localized, focused sites that are, that are doing what you guys are doing?


Marius (20m 42s):

I actually, I mean, we feel like ZipRecruiter's leaning towards Indeed the same way in Germany. So Indeed expanded into Germany and they are our number one competitor. There's also a pretty large German job board called StepStone, which is also a big competitor, but, really we are trying to prove that we can do better than them. Same way as the recruiters in the US.


Lieven (21m 2s):

Marius is StepStone still big in Germany? I know it's their home base, but.


Marius (21m 6s):

They're still extremely big on the commercial side. But what has happened over the last few years is that with a decrease in search traffic, obviously these job boards that are just waiting for traffic to come yeah, have deteriorating results for customers.


Joel (21m 22s):

What's growth look like for you guys? I assume you're going to walk outside of Germany at some point and come to America. When's that going to happen?


Marius (21m 29s):

Yeah. But I think Europe is an interesting place for us. So our vision here is to help those 200 million European workers that are mostly non white collar. So we very much focused on what we call blue collar roles and skilled workers. So the nurses, the drivers, and help them find the right job. And I think we believe that that is a trend across Europe. And we want to solve that across Europe first.


Joel (21m 59s):

What other tech around Europe has intrigued you? And what sort of trends have you excited, whether you're going to build those into HeyJobs or maybe other companies are just really interesting to you right now in Europe?


Marius (22m 11s):

I mean, I think generally in HR tech, that there's kind of two spaces, right? There's the marketplaces. So there's, ZipRecruiters, Indeeds and us that actually try to bring talent to companies and they are quite rare because they require a lot of investment to build. But then there's a lot of exciting kind of SAAS companies, right? Software, as a Service companies coming out, there was one in the Netherlands called I think Test Gorillas, which does automated assessment that I find interesting. That's Personio out of Munich, which is like an HRM ATS for SME customers. That's exciting. Yeah. There are many ATS.


Marius (22m 50s):

So there's video interviewing platforms, I guess those are the more exciting companies. Yeah.


Chad (23m 1s):

It sounds like your platform is very Zip-like, it's very, very ZipRecruiter-like it's more marketplace, it's more push it's more targeted. Are you guys at all looking to be targeted by a company like ZipRecruiter because they need expansion plans. And to be able to build in Germany is a hell of a lot harder than actually buying an organization like HeyJobs.


Marius (23m 24s):

It's not part of the plan. Part of the plan is to become the leading talent platform in Europe. And I think what you need for that is a very good local understanding of both sides of the markets. You need to understand what talent wants, and you need to understand what the employers want. And what we've seen is when international companies come in, it's very hard without a local feet on the ground, kind of to really understand that and understand these HR departments. For example, in Germany, selling CPC cost per click, just doesn't work. Recruiters are like,


Chad (23m 57s):

Why, why?


Marius (23m 58s):

Like it's too complicated. I don't want clicks. I want applicants and hires. And, but I'd rather pay a per per month per ad because then I can control my budget much better. Right. Things like that. But you have to understand these intricacies of the market. I think to be successful.


Joel (24m 19s):

Yes. What I heard there, Chad was if StepStone writes a big enough check, we'd be open to it. I think, I think that's what I just heard. I don't know.


Marius (24m 27s):

I think we're very happy to be an entrepreneurial company on our own growth. I don't have ambition to be part of a larger corporate.